"Crime is really dropping. Something's going on..."
"Be careful what you pray for, because things seem to happen when you pray..."
Something is happening among believers in the UK: God is stirring people to pray for transformation in their neighborhoods and country, and a network of intercessors with a Kingdom vision is coming together. Gospel movements begin with prayer, and this video chronicles the emergence of one of those movements through the passionate and faithful prayers of God's people in the churches.
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Colin: What’s really interesting about the UK is a lot of churches are doing a lot of social action. It’s not uncommon to see a very small church (I mean with 20 people) still doing a food bank. They might have a ministry to mums and toddlers. They might have debt counseling. So there’s a lot of social action. But when you ask how many people are coming to Christ in that, the answer’s often zero. We’ve lost how the gospel has to be central to that. And they’ve also lost how prayer has to be central to the gospel being central.
C’havala: So when the church awakens it looks like passion for prayer, looks like a desire to speak about Jesus with people, looks like boldness. It looks like renewed responsibility for and desire to change communities, transform communities. And it looks like unity in the body of Christ.
Colin: We’re sort of redirecting churches from just doing social programs where no one comes to Christ, to saying let’s come behind that with the gospel, allow their lives to be changed, and then have those people change their communities. And we’re starting to see the first fruits of that, in places like the Patmore and the Andover, and places around the country. That’s really exciting us.
Kerry: So the Patmore Estate is social housing. The estates have a real reputation for being the down and outs, for being the people who are slighted and forgotten. And it’s not anywhere that you would ever aspire to live, so it was a bit weird when I was desperately trying to find a house here, and saying to people, “I really want to live here.”
Sophie: When we first moved onto the Andover six years ago, it was definitely based on a financial decision. We were looking to buy property and this was a lot cheaper than other properties. I now see that God was at work from that point. Over the last six years he has slowly, and very gently, been impressing upon us his vision for this estate. Seeing the way people were living—really oppressed by some things—I just got a bit righteously angry about it. It just felt wrong that so many people were afflicted by similar issues. It got to a point where my husband and I just said, “Enough is enough.” And that’s when I think we really broke for this estate and for the people who live here.
Heni: Starting to pray for the Andover wasn’t a very straightforward journey or a conscious choice. When all my children went to primary school I had more time on my hands. So instead of just doing a to-do list, I asked God, “What is it you have for me?” And he said, “Love your neighbors.”
Kerry: In the beginning I didn’t know what else to do, so I just spent a lot of time praying. I had various different people that came along and helped me to pray. We’d just prayer walk: walk the streets, kind of getting a sense for what areas were maybe darker, then praying in those places and declaring God’s truths.
Sophie: For me, it started corporately in our local church, because we had been praying in our various prayer groups for revival on the estate—to see change happen, to see more people come to Jesus. And joining in that corporate prayer, I then began to take ownership for it because I live here. It felt like God was giving me permission to own this patch. It was like he was saying, “This is your bit, your bit of earth, and you need to take responsibility for it. Because there are lots of people in this church who are praying for it from the outside, but you’re in it now. And so you have authority to be able to pray in a really different way.”
Bex: One thing that we’ve been praying about very specifically is crime levels—gun crime and knife crime in particular. It was really bad last summer. There was a lot of that going on. And we have just been praying and praying protection over the boundaries of the Andover, that this is not a place where this is going to happen. And the police have spoken to our vicar and said, “The crime is really dropping. Something’s going on.”
Kerry: We have a bit of a saying in my house at the moment, “Be careful what you pray for.” Because things seem to happen when you pray. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the last six years: if you ask God for stuff, he’s gonna do it.
Sophie: Now that we’re here, the things that we’re praying for are ultimately revival to come to this estate. I want to be able to walk around this estate and hear worship coming out of the houses. And I want the people who are really struggling under something—I want that to come out, and God’s grace to come in. I think when we first moved on [to the estate] my husband and I thought this would be for a time, but I don’t see any end at the moment. I feel completely committed. I don’t know if I can say, for as long as it takes—I don’t know how quickly God is gonna move—but I’m not going anywhere.
Colin: So what gets me really excited is to think about the UK transformed, and transformed through the power of the gospel. I would love the church to just remember how great the gospel is, because the gospel is amazing.
C’havala: I believe that God has promised total transformation of these British Isles. I believe that what he’s started at various times, at different times of history, he will complete, because he said he would. And why wouldn’t I want to see that?
“Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen. Such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
-John Wesley, Letter to Alexander Mather, 1777
ABOUT: Colin and C'havala Crawley live in London, England. They work with CRM-UK to mobilize the Church and catalyze movements of the gospel.